Part of growing into the role of adult child is understanding that life, with all its excitement, adventure, and power, is tenuous and eventually ends. I have no fear and do not spend much time thinking about this, but as one loses parents and starts moving toward the a role in the senior generation, these life thoughts come more often. More than once every few days I remind myself that before too long before I will be the older generation in my family.
Death is not always an event for aging parents. Of course, we know this as, over the years, we lose friends or siblings. Yet as we grow older — I am speaking as an older adult child here — each successive loss, be it family or friend, becomes more poignant. Each time remember that it can happen to me.
In the last three weeks, I’ve lost two friends who were also colleagues. These two loved life and made their lives amazingly rich and exciting. They knew how to draw in people and to teach. Both kept in shape and were healthy eaters. One died suddenly and the other from cancer after spending his last months under the care of hospice. Their absences will be keenly felt, yet remembering them brings wonderful memories. I’ve already written posts about writing remembrances (Writing a Remembrance I, Writing a Remembrance II), and I’ve used some of these ideas to write longer compositions about my friends.
One friend was a musician who could play almost any instrument and bring joy to young and old through his music. He also knew how to make each person feel like a dear friend — in a genuine sort of way. My other colleague was amazingly creative and an out-of-the-box thinker. He could fix anything or eventually figure out how, and he shared lots of his knowledge with me. A gourmet cook, he taught me how to make amazing pasta sauce and pizza. Though my friends and colleagues miss them terribly, our conversations invariably touch on how their lives really meant something.
This fall, as I return to school, the world I live in will, as usual, be exciting and full of interesting people and activities. I have a job I love, new skills to master, a great family, and two healthy senior parents. However, my world will be a bit smaller because of my departed friends, and I will be reminding myself how important it is to make the most of life.